In an area of such outstanding natural beauty, it’s no surprise that Rutland offers a spectacular opportunity to appreciate the wonderful diversity of British wildlife.
Come and enjoy the very best of the outdoors, get involved in conservation, encourage your family to learn more about nature and join together with Rutland locals who are passionate about sharing their stunning surroundings with you!
Rutland Water is home to magnificent Ospreys, the first to breed in England for 150 years. Ospreys are a fish-eating bird of prey with a wingspan of around 71 inches (180 cm) and distinguishing ‘highwayman’s mask’ markings.
The Rutland Water Osprey Project has, for over 20 years, been key to the reintroduction of breeding pairs of Ospreys, helping to guarantee their chance of long-term survival. Ospreys have been breeding in Rutland since 2001, when the first healthy chick was hatched. Since then, a successful breeding programme has been underway and visitors come from near and far to watch them through Spring and Summer before they make their long journey to West Africa for the winter. In 2016 there were 7 breeding pairs in the county and 15 chicks fledged.
The Lyndon Visitor Centre is open from mid-March to early September each year and features a live Osprey camera as well as fantastic new displays and Osprey viewing hides.
Dedicated Osprey Cruises are available on The Rutland Belle on various Saturday’s and Wednesdays from April to August. As you board the Rutland Belle for a cruise on Rutland Water, look out for the sight of Ospreys swooping down over the sparkling water to catch a prize meal of fresh trout.
Two well equipped centres at Rutland Water offer bird watchers a fantastic view of the reservoir. The larger venue, Anglian Water Birdwatching Centre at Egleton has numerous facilities including hides, visitor centre, shop, education section as well as offering guided walks with Nature Experts.
The footpaths around Rutland Water provide an excellent platform from which to view an abundance of wildlife. Make sure you bring a pair of binoculars or, alternatively, join one of the guided walks on offer from Anglian Water Birdwatching Centre, where an experienced warden will guide you around the nature reserve. For more information contact the Rutland Water Visitor Centre on 01780 686800.
In addition to Rutland Water, there are many other Nature Reserves around the county:
Bloody Oaks Quarry | Ketton Quarry | Merry’s Meadow | Prior’s Coppice
The internationally acclaimed Birdfair takes place during the third weekend in August at Egleton, and attracts over 20,000 visitors each year. Visitors come to listen to celebrity seminars (regulars include Chris Packham, Simon King, Mike Dilger and Nick Baker), learn about global bird conservation, enjoy pond dipping, natural history and wildlife art.
You can visit the hundreds of stands selling the latest products for wildlife enthusiasts: from scopes to sculptures, binoculars to birdfood, eGuides to eco-holidays! But most of all it’s a chance for you and your family to admire the fantastic bird & wildlife at Rutland Water whilst being surrounded by friendly locals and knowledgeable experts who share your passion for nature.
Places to Visit
Bugtopia Zoo at Sykes Lane, Rutland Water, is a family owned small zoo with 95% of the animals coming from rescue or rehoming centres. It focuses on providing an affordable, fun and interactive way to get kids interested in the superheroes of our world – Bugs! Currently, Bugtopia specialises in invertebrates and reptiles but there are more mammals on their way as the centre continues to expand. Come and meet some of their very special friends including Spectacled Caiman, African Dwarf Crocodiles, Lizards, Dragons and a fascinating collection of Leaf Cutter Ants! Bugtopia’s conservation project, ‘Project HoneyComb’, is designed to help protect the humble honeybee.
Rutland Falconry and Owl Centre, near Burley-on-the-Hill, is set in 42 acres of unspoilt woodland and has over 90 birds on site, including owls, hawks, falcons, buzzards and even vultures. Some of the birds can be handled whilst others prefer to fly for visitors. Rutland Falconry and Owl Centre is open 7 days a week from 10am until late in the summer and closes earlier during the winter.
Whilst on your travels throughout Rutland, you can take part in a wonderful Citizen Science Project and help record the wildlife you see. All wildlife records are valuable whether from a garden, park or nature reserve. Help recorders at NatureSpot keep up to date with their valuable knowledge of Rutland wildlife and submit your sightings and finding to this fascinating site www.naturespot.org.uk